Congratulations to Professor Rong Tang for being selected as president-elect for the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE)! Professor Tang is the faculty advisor for Simmons ASIS&T, and we are incredibly proud of this accomplishment. We interviewed Professor Tang about her research and her involvement with ALISE. Read more to learn her thoughts on being president-elect, and how engaging in professional organizations relates to her career.
Tell us a little bit about your current research.
I have multiple research projects going on currently. One set of research projects is related to COVID-19 information or data: (1) I have a project looking into the COVID-19 datasets available on worldwide OGD sites, (2) a project on performing the heuristic evaluation of COVID-19 dashboards, and (3) social support and information zones of covid-19 information and vaccinations. I have a set of projects related to Research Data Management, including RDS maturity levels and RDM efforts. I have a set of projects on mobile news information behavior, which includes a journal article and a book, in collaboration with Prof. Kyong Eun Oh. I have another set of projects on paradigm shifts in the field of information. This set is associated with me serving as the lead guest editor of the JASIST special issue on this topic.
How have you been involved with ALISE throughout your career?
I joined ALISE since I was in the doctoral program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Over the years, I have been active in ALISE. I served on the ALISE Research Grant Committee. Most recently, I served as the Director of External Relations from 2017 to 2020, where I worked with the board of directors regularly on Association matters, especially advocating for the standing of the associations on social justice issues. Currently, I am the vice-Chair of the ALISE Advancement Committee. I will become ALISE’s president-elect in September 2021.
Congratulations on your position as the president-elect of ALISE! What are you looking forward to in this leadership position?
As I stated in Simmons’ announcement of this position, “we are facing tremendous challenges to the economy, daily life, social and political/ideological situations, in addition to the challenges of teaching and learning in LIS…As an educator in the LIS field, we need to be adaptive and innovative in the LIS pedagogy, but more importantly, advocate for the diverse communities that we serve through bringing in our DEI efforts to the forefront.”
In addition to the DEI efforts, I am looking forward to working with the Board of Directors to encourage innovation and thoughtful pedagogical experimentation to advance LIS education. I am also interested in developing international and global partnerships.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a helpful pointer early in your career, what would that be?
Earlier on in my career, back when I was in the doctoral program at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. William Shaw told me that to be committed to a career in academia, one has to have the passion and conviction, otherwise, it’s a loveless and long process. Additionally, I believe as a LIS educator, it is important to tie your teaching and research with LIS practice. So in my earlier career, I made a commitment that my teaching will be rooted in LIS practice, and this could be having guest speakers and designing projects/assignments that are LIS practice-based or have service-learning characteristics.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
I’d like to encourage SLIS doctoral students to be involved in ALISE activities and to form networks early on in their careers since that’s how I started and got my inspiration from.
Thank you, Professor Tang, for sharing your insight.